Technology: Friend or Foe

August 21st, 2018

When you blindly see technology as an “end” in of itself, not a “means” to a more impressive client experience, greater productivity, reduced risk and so on, you self-limit your own power and control. Think about that for a minute. 

Uncommon Market Attraction

September 19th, 2018

The Secret of A Seductive Rapport

When business or investor prospects are drawn to your intellect, social interaction and your communication style, the relationship moves to a depth of reciprocal trust and respect where doing business together becomes “probable”, not  “possible”. Counterintuitively, you get to that point, not by submerging business prospects in everything there is to know about you (marketing collaterals, credentials, deals) but impressively answering what the prospect wants to know.

You help yourself in advance, by visualising where you want the conversation to end up, the obstacles that might lie ahead, and natural responses to keep your conversation on track with maximum momentum.

You help yourself after the conversation, by examining what worked well and you can repeat successfully next time you meet, what didn’t work well and what you must improve when in the same situation.  

   

Legacy Trumps Opinions

September 18th, 2018

Everyone has an opinion about something today (Trump, Brexit, societal changes) and when given a large platform (social or public media), the barrage of people “shouting” about something, is at times deafening, and largely wasted. In death, as I was reminded at a close friend’s funeral yesterday, the only score that counts is what you have positively contributed to the lives of the people around you and beyond (“legacy”).  

The Real World

September 10th, 2018

Life Ain’t Fair

My eight year old daughter will come to me after a netball match and complain another girl was able to get away with fouling her repeatedly and the referee ignored it. My advice always is you need to adapt to the referee’s interpretation of what is and isn’t permissible on the day, and accept it. Why should that be any different for Serena Williams in her sport? That there are inconsistencies is a fact of life in the real world. The same applies in business, there are management, suppliers and regulators, who give different interpretations of what appears the same policy. Deal with it and move on. Stop playing the “victim”, it demeans you and your legacy.

   

Uncommon Communities

September 5th, 2018

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Community”, when used as a mass noun, “the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common”. Here is an unpalatable truth for a great many businesses, events and professional associations, who talk about building or nurturing a “community”, they really don’t have one. Why? They never have or no longer possess the right conditions for sharing (reciprocal value) and/or the community members have little in common with each other’s lives. Some falter after a brief life, others struggle on into a mid-life crisis or they reach a natural death. It is incredibly hard to sustain a community and build a powerful brand. Because it is easy start in a low-cost technological age, we shouldn’t kid ourselves it is the smart thing for us to do.

Copyright James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Irrelevant Media

September 4th, 2018

When the New Yorker magazine consciously rescinds an invitation to Steve Bannon to one of its’ high profile events, ostensibly for commercial and editorial reasons, why should the publication be taken seriously in future public discourse?

These invitations to polarising figures aren’t proffered on a whim, they are extended because someone at the top of the media organisation thinks Bannon will be an object of serious interest to their audience. That the other liberal-minded speakers don’t agree and won’t be seen on the same stage, says more about them than Bannon.

Perhaps the publication is seeking to return to its’ roots, a “fifteen-cent comic paper”, not the self-styled, “most influential magazine in the world….that stands apart for its commitment to truth and accuracy, for the quality of its prose, and for its insistence on exciting and moving every reader”?

Letting Go

September 4th, 2018

There is no “right time” to end relationships in business (employees, shareholders, customers). Yet one of the oddities in a great many organisations, particularly  small businesses, is more time is spent thinking about the “right time” than invested in making the actual changes,  finding replacements or attracting new relationships. 

Lloyds Bank UK National Business Awards 2018 

September 3rd, 2018

  

Inflexion Private Equity’s UK Entrepreneur of The Year Award Jury 

James Berkeley

I am delighted to be returning for a second year to participate in the UK’s pre-eminent national business awards, as a judge with 12 fabulous nominees.  In my experience, there are 12 traits that inform the “complete entrepreneur”. Here is three of my favourites:

  1. Self-determined. They do not rely on “handouts” from others to achieve success and they realise they can control their own destiny. 
  2. Wealth perspective. They realise that money is the fuel for their dreams, not actual wealth, which includes freedom, independence and discretionary time to pursue interests that excite them.
  3. Presence. They immediately come across as socially adept and confident, not one dimensional. They are fun to be around, not a pain to hang out with. 

 

Grief & Suffering

August 21st, 2018
Your Choices

There are foreseen and unforeseen events in our professional lives (loss of a key client or a job) and personal lives (divorce and death), which causes us great pain, and where we have may little or no control. However, we do have control and choices over the length and depth of our “suffering“. I am talking about how we let events affect our behaviour, attitudes and ultimately, beliefs.

  1. We can caste blame at others and adopt a victimhood position.
  2. We can stick our head in the sand and procrastinate about taking the necessary actions required to move us into a comfort zone.
  3. We can dramatically improve our self-talk, identify the cause and take action now, to improve our condition, and adapt or mitigate the consequences of our “loss”.

Those are very real choices in almost every situation. If you are reading this and thinking, that is great but I am still stuck 30 days on from my “loss”, get qualified help. There is a reason you are stuck, you lack clear thinking about the path ahead (fog), you have lost sight of past reference points (second-guessing yourself) or you are fearful (perceived, actual, catastrophic risks). You have almost certainly succeeded in extracting yourself in the past from similar situations with impressive results. You need reminding of your past success, and to first, give yourself permission to move forward. You cannot do that if you insist on keeping your foot on the brake.   

Business Growth Pain

August 7th, 2018

Losing Control

Why do more founders of small businesses spend more time thinking about relinquishing control as they scale their business than dealing with it? Let me be clear, I am not talking about selling the business, I am talking about relinquishing aspects of the business that bore them or they are least effective in (agreeing new personal accountabilities and behaviours).

I’ll tell you why, they are constantly second-guessing themselves, and they are fearful of being judged. Their default is to procrastinate, knowing that they cannot be held accountable if a definitive decision is not made. The founder’s problem is the stress and pain builds each day with the increasing demands co-investors, clients, peers, employees and business partners put on them.

That needn’t be the case if they are looking at the horizon, not at their toes. If they are willing to make decisions, accept prudent risk and not revert to their former self. If you need help, find an experienced entrepreneur as you proceed, who has accomplished what you want to accomplish and can help you translate the changes to your personal circumstances, ahead of time. 

Copyright James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.